King County Department of Natural Resources Completes Biosolids Certification

Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - August 27, 2004

For Immediate Release: August 27, 2004
Contact: Lee Garrigan: 202/833-4655, AMSA

EPA’s Report to Congress on Sewer Overflows Shows Utilities Making Progress
EPA released this week its much-anticipated Report to Congress: Impacts and Control of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) and Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs). The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) noted that the factual findings support the need for a more flexible policy on SSOs, point to the continued progress made by clean water facilities in controlling CSOs and SSOs, and outline the funding challenges posed by sewer overflow control projects.

The report contains important facts on CSOs and SSOs including: 1) the percentage of CSO long-term control plans that have been submitted to permitting authorities has increased from 34 to 59 percent since EPA’s last Report to Congress in 2001; 2) $6 billion has been spent by municipalities as of 2002 to control CSOs; 3) EPA estimates that the annual volume of SSOs is between 3 and 10 billion gallons – a remarkable two orders of magnitude smaller than the 311 billion gallons per year figure it had estimated when developing the draft SSO Rule; and 4) an estimated $88 billion and $50.6 billion is needed over the next 20 years to control SSOs and CSOs, respectively, showing a need for increased funding via a meaningful federal-state-local partnership.

Ken Kirk, Executive Director of AMSA, said the report demonstrates that “clean water facilities have done an outstanding job in reducing sewer overflows but federal funding is needed to address the $88 billion and $50.6 billion EPA-estimated cost to fully control SSOs and CSOs, respectively, over the next 20 years. It is imperative that EPA also develop a flexible SSO policy that incorporates watershed planning principles and allows communities to direct resources to those areas that will best improve public health and the environment.”

EPA estimates that the annual CSO volume is approximately 850 billion gallons, down from over 1 trillion gallons prior to the CSO Control Policy. EPA also estimates that the number of CSO events has dropped from approximately 60,000 prior to the CSO Control Policy, to around 43,000, or a reduction of 28 percent since the issuance of the CSO Control Policy.

Clearly, EPA’s Report to Congress demonstrates that the nation’s clean water agencies are working hard to improve public health and the environment. AMSA looks forward to working with states and the federal government to make further progress.

AMSA is a national trade association representing hundreds of the nation's publicly owned wastewater treatment utilities. AMSA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. AMSA members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's waters and public health.

1816 Jefferson Place, Washington, DC 20036-2505 • 202.833.AMSA • 202.833.4657 FAX